Category Archives: Reading lists

TWiP Guest

I  joined Frederick Van Johnson as a TWiP guest on his podcast, “This Week In Photo, episode #484” –  along with portrait photographer Joseph Linaschke.

Cheryl Machat Dorskind Guest Twip photo

Topics Discussed

  • DJI’s new Mavic Pro drone folds up and fits in your hand
  • Flickr remains relevant while Yahoo circles the drain
  • Panasonic’s GH5 to arrive in 2017 with 4K video at 60 fps & 6K video
  • Using clarity and flash to emphasize blemishes

Click here to access the podcast

At the end of the podcast I recommended two inspiring books

M Train by Patti Smith

TWiP Guest book suggestion

Patti Smith is a writer, a performer, and visual artist.  Winner of the National Book Award for Just Kids, M Train is a memoir discussing Smith’s photographic muses; the how, where and why of the photographs, as well as other captivating ruminations.

“Some months before our first wedding anniversary Fred told me that if I promised to give him a child he would first take me anywhere in in the world. Without hesitation I chose Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, a border town in northwest French Guiana, on the North Atlantic coast of South America….

A letter arrived. It was from the director of Casa Azul, home and resting place of Frida Kahlo, requesting I give a talk centering on the artist’s revolutionary life and work. In return I would be granted permission to photograph her belongings, the talismans of her life. Time to travel, to acquiesce to fate. For although I craved solitude, I decided I could not pass on an opportunity to speak in the same garden that I had longed to enter as a young girl. I would enter the house inhabited by Frida and Diego Rivera, and walk through rooms I had only seen in books. I would be back in Mexico.”

~Patti Smith

Hold Still by Sally Mann

TWiP Guest book sugggestion
Sally Mann is one of contemporary’s most renown photographers, having received NEA, NEH, and Guggenheim Grants and her photography is held in major institutions internationally. In this memoir, Sally Mann includes both narrative and images. It is a page-turner!

“These are not my children at all,” she writes. “These are children in a photograph. They represent my children at a fraction of a second on one particular afternoon with infinite variables of light, expression, posture, muscle tension, mood, wind and shade.”

“…the kids were visually sophisticated, involved in setting the scene, in producing the desired effects for the images and in editing them. When I was putting together ‘Immediate Family,’ I gave each child the pictures of themselves and asked them to remove those they didn’t want published.”

~Sally Mann

Click here to access the podcast




Also posted in Education, Gear, Inspiration, Photography, Photography Books, photography quotes Tagged , , , , , , |

Honoring Mom by Sharing Great Reads

I developed my love for reading from my mother.

Every couple of weeks my mom visited Doubleday (a stunning glass building at 724 Fifth Avenue (now Prada) in New York City) and bought ten hard cover books. She loved biographies, literary fiction, and non-fiction. Her passion for crime and thrillers was piled on her nightstand.


Mom with her 1960’s sunglasses — a silver gelatin photograph handpainted with oils.

The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt

While reading The Goldfinch, I coincidentally visited the Frick Museum and saw Carel Fabririus’ (1622-1654) masterpiece. Lines of people, many of whom had come to see Vermeer’s The Girl With a Pearl Earring crowded around Fabririus’ The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt weaves her Pulitzer Prize winning novel around Fabririus’  painting:

“It was a small picture…and the simplest: a yellow finch, against a plain, pale ground, chained to a perch by its fig of an ankle. He was Rembrandt’s pupil, Vermeer’s teacher, “ my mother said. “And this one little painting is really the missing link between the two of  them — that clear pure daylight, you can see where Vermeer got his quality of life from…”

&amp;lt;img img ” data-mce-bogus=”1″>src=”;linkId=VPGOWPQCBACIEYVC” alt=”” /><br />


“The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert

This epic story provides a gateway to the Age of Enlightenment, when people looked to the natural world for life’s explanations. We follow the life of Alma from birth and transverse to her father’s plant-thief-youth and wild-sea-adventures. Alma becomes a scientist through her fascination with botany and along the way we learn about Darwin, moss, love, and self discovery.

“Human Time was a short and horizontal mechanism. It stretched out straight and narrow, from the fairly recent past to the barely imaginable future. The most striking characteristics of Human Time, however, was that it moved with such amazing quickness. It was a snap of the finger across the universe… She was a mere blink of existence, as was everyone else.”

“Flamethrowers” by Rachel Kushner

Reno, the protagonist, is a unique and modern character which makes the book all the more interesting. The story is about a college art grad trying to make it in New York

“It was an irony but a fact that a person had to move to New York City first, to become an artist of the West.”   

but there is also motorcycles, Italy and Fascism, and lots of movement through time.

“Enchantment means to want something and also to know, somewhere inside yourself, not an obvious place, that you aren’t going to get it.”

“Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life also explores time and circumstance and time and coincidence. 

What if you could change one thing in your past, what would your life be like today? Life After Life begins with these two quotes:

“Everything Changes and nothing remains the same.”

                                      ~Plato, Cratylus

“What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

                                     ~Edward Beresford Todd

Please share this list on social media with your friends and spread the gift of reading and the spirit of your mom (and mine).

Wishing you a great Mother’s Day and happy reading,



Also posted in Books, Inspiration Tagged , , , |